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Supreme Court bench

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson places a judicial robe on the chair of the late Justice N. Patrick Crooks following a moment of silence in the court on Sept. 22 in the state Capitol. Crooks died unexpectedly in his chambers on Sept. 21.

Madison attorney Claude Covelli on Tuesday ended a two-month campaign for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Covelli said in a statement that his campaign began too late to have a shot at being successful.

“Citizens across the state confirmed with me their deep concern with the degree of politics in judicial elections,” he said. “The response to our campaign was great. But our grassroots campaign began too late and we’ve run out of time to effectively get our message out.”

While Supreme Court races are officially nonpartisan, candidates are often backed by political parties. Covelli said the high court’s elections “have become nonpartisan in name only.”

He said he hopes Wisconsin voters will choose “a nonpartisan justice free from taint of political bias or influence.”

Candidate Rebecca Bradley was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to the high court earlier this year after Justice N. Patrick Crooks died in September. Bradley had already announced her candidacy for Crooks’ seat.

Next spring, Bradley will face Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Joe Donald and state Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg in a primary. Other candidates could still emerge. The top two vote-getters will appear on the general election ballot.

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Molly Beck covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal.